Sant’Erasmo violet artichoke
Sant’Erasmo violet artichoke belongs to the variety of Livorno violet. Historical resources testify to its plantations already in the XVI century, introduced by the Jewish Community, the only case in North- East Italy thanks to the lagoon mild weather and its clay, saline and well-drained terrain. As well as on the isle of the same name, called “l’orto di Venezia” (Venice market garden), Sant’Erasmo violet artichoke is cultivated on the nearby islands of Mazzorbo and Vignole and on some area of the lagoon such as Lio Piccolo. The harvest begins in April with the so called castraùre, the first tender buds, and ends in June with the latest production. The harvest is handmade, flower heads are deposited in cases and cut off leaving a stalk of 15 cm and 2-3 leaves.
Look and taste
Sant’Erasmo violet artichoke is medium sized and tapered, fleshy and thorny, which is characterized by leaves of a deep purple. Its flavour, slightly bitter per se, is enhanced by the salt soil in which it is cultivated.
To the table
Sant’Erasmo violet artichoke is very versatile, suitable for being browned off, fried, marinated and even eaten raw when dressed with a drop of olive oil. It can be found in taverns among the typical cicheti (Venetian finger food), boiled and seasoned with garlic, parsley, pepper and salt.